Farmers and Extension Officers benefit from UN Climate Information and Community-Based Early Warning Systems workshop

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in collaboration with the Government of Japan and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), is currently hosting a climate information and community based early warning systems workshop which will see several farmers and extension officers benefiting tremendously.

The workshop will see trainees gaining knowledge on how to effectively establish community-based early warning committees in communities practicing substantial agriculture. Some of the agencies benefiting from the training are the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA), the National Agriculture Research and Extension Institute (NAREI), the Guyana Marketing Corporation (GMC) and the Hydrometeorological Department.

The goal of the project is to mainstream Disaster Risk Management (DRM) / Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in the agriculture sector, strengthen national capacity in Early Warning Systems (EWS) and Community Based Early Warning Systems (CBEWS) while building resilience for sustainable livelihoods in the sector against disasters.

Areas primarily identified to benefit from this project are Lima, Now or Never, Farmers Community (Tempie to Lovely Lass), #5 Village and Whim. After the training, extension officer will be able to educate other farmers on appropriate periods to carry out specific agricultural activities.

The workshop, which started on Monday last, will see a number of farmers in these communities benefiting from much-needed capacity building as it related to agricultural activities in those areas. Farmers will no longer have to solely rely on weather forecasts from the Hydromet Department.

It was recognized that there is need for information to be acquired in a more timely nature if a proactive approach is to be taken to alleviate issues that are a direct result of natural disasters such as flooding and droughts.

During a telephone interview, Head of the Livestock Development Unit at the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA), Mr. Michael Welch indicated that this training is extremely important as it is timely.

“This workshop will ultimately enhance climate information and early warning messages in order to directly address the needs of farmers, livestock holders and fisher-folks. We must understand that there are different types of livestock activities being practiced in these communities. With this in mind, whatever message we send out…it must be tailored to target specific farmers based on what they’re doing.” Welch said.

The workshop is geared towards increasing institutional and technical capacities of national institutions, enhancing technical capacities of government institutions in employing DRR/DRM tools, practices and approaches in support of farming communities in the agriculture sector, enhancing resilience, capacity and coping mechanisms of disaster prone agricultural communities and supporting public awareness.

The training was organized after a baseline needs assessment was carried out by the Government of Japan in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture that revealed that in addition to farmers predominantly relying on traditional knowledge as opposed to information provided by the ministry’s hydromet department, the information available is too technical for farmers and extension officers to comprehend.